As we’ve been discussing in previous posts, being able to make the right decision is probably the single biggest thing that will enable you to have true peace of mind, and help you to move forward in life and have the best chances of achieving your goals and aim.
It’s hard to capture the power of a right decision ‘in theory’, so I thought I’d share some true stories with you of people who have recently seen their lives turn around, from learning how to do this.
True Story 1: Getting back to business
Sam’s last business venture flopped, leaving him pretty nervous about starting up something new. But as the bills were piling higher and higher, he realized that he couldn’t spend any more time nursing his bruises, and he had to get back to earning some money, some how. He had a few viable ideas that he’d been tossing around, and was coming closer to taking the initial steps required to kick things off – except every time he settled down to work on the business plan, he’d get such a bad attack of the shakes that he’d had to stop and go for a walk to clear his head, or take his mind off work some other way.
This continued for a couple of weeks, until he realized that the decision to start up another business was stressing him out so badly, he was literally going into ‘freeze’ mode, where his mind was blanking and his anxiety was taking over.
If this was his reaction, maybe going back into business wasn’t a good idea, and he should just try and find a regular job, instead? But a regular job didn’t give him anywhere near the same chance of earning good money, and working his own hours, like he’d been used to doing.
So what was the right decision?
As part of my methodology, I explained to Sam that his emotional brain was the part setting of the anxiety and shakes, and it had to be dealt with before any real, rational decision could be reached.
He did some easy ‘calming’ exercises to bring the blood back to his forebrain, and get him out of the fight-flight-freeze response that was being triggered each time he thought about going back into business. Then, he learnt how to have a conversation with his emotional brain, to find out what the anxiety was all about.
Long story short, Sam’s emotional brain wanted reassurance that he wasn’t going to run out of money while wasting his time chasing after a pipe dream. Once Sam realized that he had to set firm milestones this time round, and call it quits early on and go and find regular employment if he wasn’t reaching his target income by a set date, his emotional brain was reassured enough for us to move on to the next part of the decision: should he go for the business idea he now had on the table?
This is where the mind-mapping techniques he’d learnt as part of my methodology came into its own, and Sam mapped out his options in a rational way, and came to the conclusion that he needed to do a lot more homework to feel things out, before committing any big amounts of time or cash to the project.
He came up with a bunch of action points to take forward, that would help him make an informed decision on whether that particular business seemed a good option, and most importantly of all, he’d gained some crucial self-awareness about what was causing his anxiety and emotional paralysis, and how to overcome it.
True Story 2: The Big Move
Emma had recently gone through a nasty divorce where her wealthy husband had hired the best lawyer he could find, and wiped the floor with her. Emma was left with nothing, and had developed an abiding loathing for anyone or anything that reminded her of her husband, his family, or their old life together.
Although she had a good job and grown up children still in the same city, she wanted a change of scene, and was seriously contemplating making a new start, and going somewhere completely different.
But she was very torn about the decision, and was full of confusion, doubt and guilt about whether she was doing the right thing, both for herself, and for her grown up kids.
On the face of it, the decision seemed pretty simple: list all the pros and cons of the different cities she was considering and then see which one came out on top and go for it. But when there’s such a strong emotional component involved in making the decision, the rational brain actually goes offline, and you’re left with your emotional brain in the driving seat – which can often cause a lot of problems, especially if it’s making some irrational assumptions.
The first part of the process with Emma was to set out the cities she was considering moving to, and to rank them according to her own priorities for what she was looking for. Once city came out a clear winner – but Emma was clearly still unhappy with the choice, and hadn’t bought into it emotionally at all.
So what was really going on?
Again, part of my methodology is to teach people how to listen to and acknowledge their emotional brain, which is usually operating under their radar. As a result of that process, Emma discovered that a huge amount of her decision was being driven by anger, and a wish to somehow ‘get back’ at her husband and everything he represented.
By the end of the decision-making process, Emma had realized that she actually needed a break to recuperate, not a permanent move, and was feeling much more at peace and calm about taking a few months off to try somewhere new.
As a result, she was much happier about trying out the original ‘no-brainer’ choice for a new location, and was feeling much less guilty about her decision, because now she could see it was actually a necessary part of her healing process, and not just a knee-jerk reaction designed to teach her ex husband a lesson.
Sam and Emma had two very different types of big decisions to make, but in both cases and awful lot was riding on them being able to make the right decision. But here’s the thing: if you don’t understand how your emotional brain (which is making 95% of your decision unconsciously) and your rational brain (which is consciously in charge of the other 5%) are working together, or contradicting each other, it’s very, very hard to come to the right conclusion, and to feel good about your choice.
If you’re working solely on the assumptions made by your rational brain, you’ll often FEEL anxious, guilty, scared, uncertain or angry about the decisions you’re making. But if you’re going solely with your gut, your often missing out a whole bunch of necessary information and details that ensure that your decisions are realistic, workable and sensible. So you need to figure out how to get both parts of your decision-making faculties working together, and that’s what my methodology does.
I have a bunch more case studies to share with you, and I’ve included many of them in my new ‘How to Make the Right Decision, Every Single Time’ online course, which will be available online for $75.
In the next post, I’ll tell you more about how this methodology actually works, and how it can really help you, with your big life decisions. Stay tuned….
The biggest thing stopping us from making the right decisions it that we usually don’t have the tools to figure out all the implications of the choices we’re making. Take choosing a career. Most people, many people, will tend to look at the money aspect first, and base most of their decision about what career to go for on the bottom line: who’s paying the most, and how much money am I going to make?
It’s only a few years’ or even decades later that they wake up one day, and realize that they actually hate the job they picked simply because it paid so well, and that while they have a lot of money in the bank they have no time to spend it (because they’re also working) and no-one to spend it with (because they couldn’t keep a relationship together in the 20 minutes a week they had when they weren’t at work or asleep).
That’s a great example of a ‘bad decision’, or a decision that went sour because only one aspect of the choice was being considered. Before you can be behind your decisions 100%, you first need to be able to bottom out everything it actually means to you, all the pros and cons of taking it.
To come back to the career example, before choosing to go into law, it’d be a great idea if the young undergrad could sit down and have a system that would help them figure out what’s really important to them, and what’s really going to make them happy in life.
A system that would pit the prospect of making a ton of money, on the one hand, against the other things that affect their quality of life, like free time, stress and fulfilling relationships. That way, as the undergrad’s true preferences were revealed and added up, it would probably create a very different picture of their ‘ideal career’, that would have profound implications for what they choose to study now, and also how the rest of their life is going to pan out.
Say they realized how much they like to play their guitar in the evenings. Say, they had a system that would let them quantify what being able to play some bass with their buddies actually meant to them, quality-of-life-wise, like: social interaction, creative expression, a great way to de-stress, and even, pure fun.
Once they identified the true value of being able to jam on a regular basis, then they could make a true choice about what would really be better for them: a job with long hours and lots of cash, or a job with less cash, but more free time.
By the way, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they would automatically pick the more laid-back career, but it would mean they could make an informed, realistic choice that would give them real peace of mind, and underline the importance of them still being able to play the guitar in the future.
So now, the question of questions: how do we actually make sort of life-affirming, right decisions that don’t leave us scrambling to cover our bases when things don’t go to plan?
The answer is deceptively simple, but incredibly effective once you know how, and I’ve created an easy-to-learn, practical system that can teach anyone how to do it.
It’s going to be available shortly for the introductory price of $75, and in the next post, I’ll introduce you to some of the practical ways it can literally transform your life.
Life is full of decisions. Some of them are big ones, like: which guy should you marry? Which job should you take? Which school should you go to, or send your kids to? Where should you live? What car should you buy?
And some of them are much smaller, but no less significant, when it comes to your overall quality of life, health and happiness, like: should I eat a hamburger or have salad for lunch? Go to the gym, or skip it today? Veg on the couch watching soap operas, or phone a friend? Go for the chai macchiato, or the super skinny latte?
Being able to make the right decision about things is probably the single most valuable skill you could learn, but here’s the crazy thing: most people actually have no idea how to make the right decisions – which can create a huge amount of stress, anxiety and difficult situations.
Over the last two decades of coaching people, I’ve identified the three biggest mistakes that they tend to make, when it comes to taking a decision:
Mistake 1: Act on impulse
When you don’t know how to make reasoned, realistic decisions, a few different problems can crop up. The first mistake is when you base your choices on gut reactions and impulses, which is also what I like to call ‘the gambler’s response’ to a decision.
The problem with this way of doing things is that sometimes it’ll work out OK, but sometimes it won’t. And because it’s based on subjective gut feelings or impulses instead of a reasoned analysis of the situation, you have no idea when the shoe is going to drop, or how, which can be a very stressful place to be.
Mistake 2: Outsource the decision to someone else
Another poor decision-making option is where you try to abdicate taking responsibility for making the call, and get someone else to do that job for you. This is what I call the ‘outside expert response’.
The main advantage of doing things this way is that you always have someone to blame if it goes wrong. The main disadvantage is that no-one else actually knows you and your life the way you yourself do, and that you can very easily end up living out some other person’s idea of how your life should be, which is rarely a recipe for feeling satisfied, content and fulfilled.
That’s the main drawback if the other person’s advice is sound and sensible.
Unfortunately, a lot of the self-proclaimed ‘experts’ out there actually also don’t know how to make the right decisions, but feel much happier gambling with someone else’s life and peace of mind. If you follow third party advice that goes sour, it’s cold comfort to think you’ve got someone else to blame for your life going down the toilet.
Mistake 3: Don’t do anything
The last unsuccessful strategy for making a decision (which is incredibly common today) is what I call the ‘paralysed with fear’ response. This is where the idea of making the wrong decision is actually so scary, that you end up completely stuck in your dead-end job, dead-end relationship or dead-end life, wishing so much that something could shift or improve but feel too confused or anxious to actually take the first step.
The irony is that people trapped in the ‘paralysed with fear’ response usually don’t appreciate just how much joy, vitality and opportunities for success they’re missing out on, by continuing to play it safe.
So much hangs on being able to make the right decisions, from the more mundane stuff about what to have for supper, right up to the huge things about who to marry, and what career to pursue.
People who know how to make the right decisions – and who can access their decision-making ability at the deeper levels of their subconscious - enjoy their lives so much more, because they know what really motivates them, what really makes them happy, and what’s really going to bring them true satisfaction and peace of mind.
I’ve had so many big decisions to make in life, from moving location multiple times, to starting and selling businesses, to switching over to a more holistic lifestyle, that I realized a long time ago that if I was going be making some radical changes to the status quo, I’d better make darned sure that my decisions were rock solid and not just based on impulse, or knee-jerk reactions.
By that, I mean that I could stand behind my decisions 100%, and have complete peace of mind that if they didn’t work out, it wasn’t because I hadn’t done my homework to figure out what was really the best choice to make.
So, I developed a system for making sound decisions, that I could apply across the board, and that would enable me to figure out all the pros and cons of the choices I was making, and deal with any implications, BEFORE I actually signed on the dotted line. The ability to make the right decisions is not something I came by naturally; it was a system I had to learn.
And in the next post, I’ll tell you a little more about how my system actually works, to take the guess work and stress out of making the right decisions.
Someone asked me: ‘What are the factors preventing fat people from slimming down?’
It’s a great question, because it’s not simply a matter of eating less, and healthier food. There are a whole bunch of deeper reasons why people over-eat, or comfort-eat, or store extra fat in their bodies. So in the next couple of posts, I want to look at two areas that are normally all but ignored in the quest for slimness, but which actually hold the key to losing the pounds.
The real reasons why people overeat
There are two main reasons:
1) Repressed emotions that the person is eating in response to.
2) Energy patterns in their body, related to the body's 14 energy meridians, that the person normally hasn't even heard of….until now.
It doesn't require a PhD to work out that if you eat more calories than you can burn off, that extra 'energy' gets stored as fat. But the real question is why do people feel compelled to eat more than they need, and to answer that properly, you probably need a whole bunch of PhD plus the gift of prophecy, because it's really not a simple matter.
And, it's something that's affecting more and more of the population. According to one study, 150 million Americans weigh more than they should, and included in that figure is 60 million Americans who are clinically obese.
Just let the enormity of those figures sink in for a bit.
The Energy Dimension of Weight Management
Donna Eden wrote a book called 'Energy Medicine for Women', which I highly recommend, and much of what I'm going to share with you now comes from a chapter in that book called weight management. According to Eden, the following factors affect how much food people eat:
The nine categories of over-eating
In the book, Eden then goes on to share her 9 nine categories of different types of over-eating, what causes them, plus energy exercises you can do to start curtailing the 'feed me' impulse at the level of the body's energy systems, before it's even materialised as an intellectual craving for a Snickers. The nine categories are:
Again, go buy her book and start following her recommendation for simple, easy-to-do Energy Medicine things you can to kill off your inappropriate food cravings.
Energy exercises, especially things like the Temporal Tap exercise (click to see an article on how to do it) can work wonders.
But in the next post, we’ll learn why understanding and acknowledging your emotions really holds the key to weight loss.
As a parent, I often think how great it would be if I could just tell my kids all my mistakes, and learnings, and life experiences, and save them the trouble of going through so much trouble and pain themselves.
Save yourself the heartache, kid, and believe me when I tell you that you don't have to stress so much over your maths' exam! Save yourself a fortune, my daughter, and stop buying those junky bits of 'cute' pottery mass-produced in China for your room. They'll just sit there gathering dust for years, silently rebuking you for being dumb enough to buy them.
It doesn't matter what it is, from eating healthier, to getting enough sleep, to avoiding 'bad' friends, to making sensible decisions, I see that my kids normally have to learn things the hard way.
They have to see for themselves that wearing high heels gives them knee pain; and that staying up all night reading makes them knackered; and doing that extra bit of babysitting meant they didn't have time to really get all their homework done.
Apparently, there is no other way.
I'd pretty much got to that conclusion myself, but then I read something in this book called 'The language of life: how cells communicate in health and disease' which made me realise that actually, personal experience truly is the only thing that counts.
The author was writing about how the synapses in the brain are formed, and how 'superficial' experiences or learnings result in small, temporary, surface chemical changes in the brain; but how a powerfully-felt experience actually changes the physical cell-structure of the brain.
When something is experienced first-hand as 'good' or 'bad', that experience is literally hard-wired into the brain, so the person won't forget it. Of course, this can also be why it's so hard for addicts to get away from their drug of choice, or why it's so hard to walk away from the Black Forest Gateau, or why it can be so difficult to stop watching movies, or spending so much time on Facebook.
At some cellular level, these things have been (deceivingly…) coded as 'good' and 'enjoyable'. Our body thinks they're great; our soul knows better, and our minds are caught in the middle, trying to work out which one to listen to.
This is also why it can be so hard to break a habit, and why having good habits gets most of the job done, for you. It's literally hard-wired in.
What does all this mean, for you, for me, for our kids?
The first thing I'm taking away from it is that I really need to get God involved in breaking my old bad habits, and installing new ones. It's not just a simple matter of 'will power', whatever anyone may say. My job is to ask G-d to help me change, and then stop beating myself up if it doesn't happen overnight.
Next, I realised how important it is to let kids make their own mistakes, and experience their own consequences, from as young an age as possible. If they get the message when they're young that acting like a jerk is a bad thing; or that wasting all their money on candy is dumb; or that leaving all their homework until 10 minutes before school is extremely stressful, that message will get hard-wired in, and save them so much grief when they're adults.
I know, that's hard for us parents to do, isn't it? I literally bite my tongue, sometimes, when I can see the looming negative consequence of one of my child's immature decisions. If I tell them, they won't get it. If I enable them to experience it themselves, they'll own that wisdom forever, and it will stand them in good stead.
The last thing I realised was how important it is to give our kids as many good habits as we can, when they're young. That doesn't mean nagging them to bentch or wash - again, I learned the hard way that saying the grace after meals was directly linked to making a living, and I expect they will have to do it that way, too.
But it means helping them to develop healthy accountability, and self-awareness, and compassion and empathy for others. It means encouraging them to try things, even if they're going to end in failure. And it means trusting G-d to send them whatever experiences they need, even at a young age, to gently hardwire in the notion that with G-d in the picture, it will be 'good' however it turns out in real life - and vice-versa.